Bhutan Sustainable Studies Trip

Daily Wrap Up

By Sunny Frost | May 17, 2019

In an effort to savor the conversations we had while traveling on wheels, I had decided to record a conversation about our shared experience thus far. This particular conversation began comparing the archery competition we had just watched to competitive disc golf. The previous day, we were captivated by a discussion lead by Dr. Tashi Zangmo of her journey to founding the Bhutan Nuns Foundation. Most of us had studied Social Entrepreneurs in an class called ” Social Entrepreneurship” taught by Dr. Mercedes Quesada-Embid at Colorado Mountain College. Listening to a social entrepreneur speak was clearly engaging, but it had...

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Bhutan’s Future Craftsmen

By Chelsea Elliott | February 16, 2019

We visited the Choki Traditional Arts School on the outskirts of Thimphu. The Choki school promotes craftsmanship, education, art, talent and youth development. You can see this through the school with the dedicated students harnessing their chosen craft. I enjoyed walking through the classrooms and watching the artwork that was being created by the students. The amount of patience and precision that goes into one piece is beyond amazing. The intricate details that you can see throughout the entirety of the paintings are difficult to look at because of how small they are, let alone to be able to create...

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Photo; Paul (author) experiencing a true happiness amid prayer flags and friends

Who is truly happy? What is true happiness?

By Paul Agneberg | February 14, 2019

Learning about Bhutan, one learns about their system of measuring progress named ‘Gross National Happiness’. One’s instant reaction is that Bhutan is some magical place where the whole populace is constantly happy, smiling, and singing songs; but that is far from reality. The people of Bhutan have the same hopes, desires and joys as well as anger, pain, and suffering that person’s everywhere across the planet do. The people of Bhutan are not immune to being unhappy. Bhutan has a unique community-based scoring system for determining individual happiness, which is revolutionary, although not all rank highly, as around 9% of...

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Photo: Choki Traditional Art School embroidery student

Art in Bhutan

By Michael Gonzales | February 6, 2019

Everywhere you look in Bhutan, there is artwork.  It adorns homes, businesses, clothing: nearly everything.  As a mostly Buddhist society, artwork is crucial to understanding the culture.  Every piece of artwork has symbology, meaning, and a story behind it.  It is one thing to hear someone tell you that art has meaning, but it is another thing entirely to see and feel that meaning for yourself. At the Choki Traditional Arts School, we learned how important traditional artwork is in Bhutan.  After a brief welcoming by the faculty, we met with our student volunteers who showed us around the campus. ...

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Chilies brighten the landscape and more…

By Hannah Goldberg | February 6, 2019

            The day of our arrival to Bhutan, we drove from Paro to the Royal Thimphu College in the capital city of Thimphu. Within a valley of the Himalayan mountains we drove along the Paro Chhu (the Paro river) for a while. Along the river banks I took in all the natural scenery (trees, rocks, water, animals, and more). Nestled among the earth tones in nature, I saw the most brilliant, vivid red on the roof tops of homes and buildings. At first, I wasn’t sure that the Bhutanese didn’t just have red roofs, until...

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The Dzong at Night

By Bailee McDaniel | February 1, 2019

The Shadows of the Dzong A light in the darkness of the night, It is beautiful in the day, Yet, shadows emphasized at night. In the light of the day, Within the thick walls, Men and women dress their finest, Long kiras of bright in colors, A rachu laid across elegant shoulders, Men in their best ghos, A kabney on strong shoulders. Alone it slumbers at night, Not a light on inside to combat the spotlights, It’s a wonder to see. How beautiful to see the Dzong at night, A wonder to experience the contrast of light against stark night,...

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The Question on Everyone’s Mind

By Madeline Dougherty | December 3, 2018

Since returning from Bhutan, I have noticed one question that everyone (unsurprisingly) asks: what was your favorite part? Although I should have anticipated this question, I was left drawing a blank as the entire trip came across my mind. Most people don’t have the time to listen to me rehash the 21 days spent abroad, so I’ve worked on changing my response to elaborate on the feeling of Bhutan. Bhutan is a place of action and evolution. Bhutan is a nation built by average people with extraordinary dreams. Bhutan is a place where the impossible is possible. Bhutan is a humble nation. Bhutan...

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Centenary Farmers Market, Thimphu Bhutan

By Keith Labbe | December 3, 2018

Throughout our travels we passed the market in Thimphu City many times. We had the opportunity to make our way into the venue and experience the wide variety of produce and goods.  Many of us are familiar with the markets and roadside popups in our own setting, and have an understanding as to what is local, fresh, organic, etc. as we make our decisions on what goods to purchase. Our academic guides, Bhuwan Kafley and Tenzin Namgyel offered us some useful insider information as we entered the two-story building that houses the Centenary Farmers Market.  They mentioned to us all that the...

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Bugs and Beautiful Creatures of Bhutan

By Jacquelyn Vaneyll | December 1, 2018

During our time in Bhutan we traveled between the central and western regions. Bhutan is very diverse in ecosystems ranging from tropical-jungle to the well known Himalayan mountains. Since the constitution requires a minimum of 60% forest coverage, Bhutan has a great deal of forest coverage and sacred land believed to hold deities. In fact they have exceeded the minimum and are at 72% forest cover with over 50% wild protected lands. These are some of the bugs and animals we encountered on our trip:   House centipede (scutigera coleoptrata) found in apartment at Royal Thimphu College. Kills other insects and...

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Discovering the concept of Gross Domestic Happiness

By Giorgio Cantele | November 30, 2018

On the morning of its 16th day in Bhutan, CMC’s scholarly group had the fortune of listening to Ms. Wesel Bindha’s lecture on Gross National Happiness (GNH). Having undertaken her higher studies in India, Ms. Bindha, a mild-mannered soft-spoken individual,  promptly proved herself a compelling orator, capable of demonstrating GNH principles through her radiant demeanor and subject delivery. Outlining the roots of the GNH concept, Ms. Bindha referred to the legal code of 1729 which in essence stated “If the government cannot create happiness for its people, then there is no purpose for the government to exist”. Enlightened words then, and...

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